The Big MST3K Sell-Out: Why Are They Destroying America?

The best thing on the TV ever was the mid-'90s Comedy Central cheap-looking cowtown puppet show Mystery Science Theater 3000. From, let's say, 1990-1995, it was both a totally brilliant show (that I still enjoy thanks to Rhino Home Video and BitTorrent) and also an integral part of my childhood. And now the internet is going to ruin it.

After the show finally died (a couple years too late, admittedly) the cast members went on, mostly, to harmless other pursuits. Creator Joel Hodgson and Crow performer Trace Beaulieu stayed primarily behind-the-scenes, but for brief, charming appearances in the almost-as-seminal Freaks and Geeks. Head writer Mike Nelson began releasing a series of humorous DVD commentary tracks for popular movies with Tom Servo voice Kevin Murphy and a couple other MST3K vets.

But this week brought confusing and terrible news from multiple fronts.

Sleepy-eyed host/my surrogate TV father Joel announced his return to the world of riffing on bad movies—along with Trace, original Servo voice Josh Weinstein, and TV's Frank—with a mysterious project he's calling "Cinematic Titanic."

This possibly-not-that-upsetting news was trumped by the relaunch of MST3K.com as a new home for free animated webisodes, produced by the dude whose main creative contribution to the original show was voicing Gypsy (and owning all the copyrights). The cartoons—and you can go watch them now for free and buy some merch!!—feature the "new adventures" of the bots, their charming secondhand store puppet bodies now suddenly flat, shitty Flash animation, their voices unrecognizable.

Ugh.

And it's one mostly harmless thing when my childhood is repackaged and resold to me at a slight markup, one different but also annoying thing that I can more or less live with when it's chewed over as premature nostalgia by VH1 or Slate think-pieces, but for God's sake I am far too young to already have it sullied by soulless cash-ins.

I blame the internet for all of this and I'm going on strike until the internet promises to never, ever produce new original Flash webisodes of Animaniacs.

MST3K.com
Cinematic Titanic